View Full Version : Deer kill at Ninigret refuge top choice of wildlife experts

11-09-2011, 12:43 PM
CHARLESTOWN - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering limited public hunting to thin out the high populations of white-tailed deer on its wildlife refuges in Charlestown and on Block Island.
Charlie Vandemoer, refuge manager, said that very high densities of the deer raise questions about their effect on the environment, damage to gardens, collisions with vehicles, and their role in the occurrence of Lyme disease. Hunting to manage the population is recommended in the agency's "Draft Environmental Assessment, Draft Compatibility Determination" and related documents.
Two public workshops to gather comments on the plan will be held this week; the first will be on Wednesday evening, Nov. 9, at the Block Island school cafeteria in New Shoreham. The second will be from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday at the Kettle Pond Visitor Center in Charlestown. Stations will be placed around the room and people can stop to speak with refuge personnel and state Di- vision of Fish and Wildlife staff members, obtain copies of the draft documents, and leave any comments or suggestions they wish to be considered.
The draft plan will be available for public review through Dec. 7. Copies will be posted at the RI National Wildlife Refuge web site (http://www.fws.gov/ninigret/complex/) and can be viewed at the refuge headquarters in Charlestown and at local libraries in Charlestown and New Shoreham.
The "Draft Environmental Assessment" describes various alternatives under consideration. A "Draft Hunt Plan," which describes how deer hunting would be permitted, will also be available for public comment.
Vandemoer said some people are surprised to learn that hunting is allowed on a National Wildlife Refuge.
But he said these lands have been established not only to preserve wild places, but also to promote wildlife-dependent recreation. Wildlife-dependent recreation includes environmental education, wildlife observation, photography, wildlife interpretation, hunting and fishing.
All National Wildlife Refuges in Rhode Island are open to fishing, and goose and dove hunting is allowed on a portion of the Trustom Pond National Wildlife Refuge in South Kingstown.
Written public comments will be accepted through Dec. 7 and can be mailed to or dropped off at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Attn: Deer Management), 50 Bend Road, Charlestown, RI 02813.